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A Guide to Psychology Resources

Research guide to support courses offered in the department of Psychological & Brain Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis.

Collection Development Policy

Washington University in St. Louis

Collection Development Policy

Library: Olin

Subject: Psychology

Collection: General

Date Revised: April 4, 2014

Subject Librarian: Melissa Vetter


1. General purpose:

  • The Department of Psychology has about 80 graduate students in residence and graduates approximately 200 majors a year. Psychology is the most popular undergraduate major at Washington University.  The department specializes in four areas of research: Aging and Development, Clinical Psychology, Behavior, Brain & Cognition, and Social/Personality.
  • Although it specializes in the four areas of research above, the department provides a full undergraduate program with courses in many other topics within Psychology.  In addition, the department only accepts candidates who wish to pursue the Ph.D.
  • Members of the Department of Psychology collaborate closely with researchers in the Medical School (particularly in the Division of Health Behavior Research and in the Departments of Neurology, Psychiatry and Radiology).  Other collaborations occur within the School of Arts and Sciences with departments such as Education and programs such as Sociology and Applied Statistics.  Finally, other collaborations exist with scholars in the School of Social Work, the Olin School of Business and the Law School.  Washington University strongly emphasizes interdisciplinary programs and the Department of Psychology participates fully in many such programs.

2. Subjects excluded:

  • Tests and Testing,
  • Applied psychology
  • Topics related to the study/practice of Social Work

3. Overlap with other collections or subjects:

  • Anthropology
  • Chemistry
  • Education
  • Computer Science
  • Linguistics
  • Biology
  • Engineering
  • Business
  • Mathematics
  • Philosophy
  • History
  • Philosophy-Neuroscience-Psychology

4. Languages included and excluded:

We collect English language materials extensively.  All others are collected only upon request.

5. Geographical limitations:

Psychological thought in the United States is the emphasis of the collection. Due to the fact that important new psychological constructs increasingly originate outside the United States, important works from other countries with potential impact on theory or practice in the United States, will also be collected. The increasingly global viewpoint of all disciplines, including psychology, is acknowledged.

6. Chronological limits:

Although the Library selectively collects works related to classical theorists and research, in order to support the curriculum and faculty research, the library purchases mainly current material.

7. Retrospective acquisition:

Current material is emphasized, but older material is purchased at the request of faculty and budget adequacy.

8. Types of material collected and excluded:

  • Primary indexes and abstracts for psychology are online.  Scholarly serials, monographs, videos, and electronic resources are collected. All serials published by the American Psychological Association are purchased electronically.  When possible, electronic editions are preferred for serials and monographs. 
  • Works addressed to a popular, non-scholarly audience are collected on a highly selective basis. Textbooks are purchased only in special circumstances, such a demonstrated need for purchasing of overview sources on a particular subject, or for reference purposes.
  • Tests and measures are not collected by the library because of copyright concerns.  Items also excluded include: test preparation guides, reprints when we own the original, dissertations from other universities, and newsletters.

9. Other factors to consider:

Works by current and retired faculty are collected.  All rare books belonging to the library are kept in the Department of Special Collections, Olin Library.

10. Subjects and Collecting Levels:

Most of psychology is at level 3 or 4.  

  • BF 1-39 General
  • BF 38.5-39 Methodology
  • BF 40-74 Relation to other fields (mainly philosophy, religion)
  • BF 75-76.4 Practice of psychology. Vocational guidance
  • BF 76.5-76.9 Research. Communications
  • BF 77-80 Study and teaching. Certification
  • BF 81-108 History
  • BF 109 Biography. Studies of individual psychologists
  • BF 110-149 General (many texts class here)
  • BF 150-172 Mind and body
  • BF 173-175 Psychoanalysis
  • BF 180-198 Experimental psychology
  • BF 199-200 Behaviorism
  • BF 201-201.2 Cognitive psychology
  • BF 201.3 Discursive psychology
  • BF 201.4 Feminist psychology
  • BF 201.5-201.9 Functionalism
  • BF 202-206 Gestalt, humanistic, existential psychology
  • BF 207-230 Psychotropic drugs. Behavior control
  • BF 231-308 Sensation
  • BF 241-245 Vision
  • BF 251 Hearing
  • BF 261-308 Other senses. Movement
  • BF 309-500 Cognition. Consciousness
  • BF 318 Learning
  • BF 335 Habit. Adjustment
  • BF 353 Environmental psychology
  • BF 370-387 Memory
  • BF 408-426 Creativity. Imagination
  • BF 431-440 Intelligence
  • BF 441-449 Thinking. Problem-solving. Information processing
  • BF 455-463 Psycholinguistics
  • BF 501-510 Motivation
  • BF 511-607 Affection. Emotion. Bereavement. Love
  • BF 608-635 Will. Choice. Control
  • BF 638-659 New thought. Menticulture
  • BF 660-684 Comparative psychology. Animal and human
  • BF 685-691 Instinct
  • BF 692-696 Sexuality and gender
  • BF 697-698 Self. Personality
  • BF 699-711 Genetic psychology
  • BF 712-724 Developmental psychology
  • BF 721-723 Child psychology
  • BF 725-750 Psychology by class or occupation
  • BF 751-760 Psychology of nations
  • BF 761-772 Psychology of evidence
  • BF 773-788 Psychology of belief, faith, influence, values
  • BF 789-794 Miscellaneous topics (e.g., death, smoking, suffering, water, etc.)
  • HM 1001-1105 Social psychology
  • HM 1046-1070 Self-perception. Self-esteem
  • HM 1071-1096 Perception of others. Prejudice. Stereotype
  • HM 1101 Risk assessment
  • HM 1106-1171 Interpersonal relations. Social behavior
  • HM 1121-1126 Conflict management
  • S HM 1172-1245 Social influence. Social pressure
  • HM 1206-1220 Communication. Mass media
  • HM 1221-1226 Public relalions. Publicity
  • HM 1231 Propaganda
  • HM 1236 Public opinion
  • QP 351-500 Neurophysiology. Neuropsychology
  • RC 321-345 General neuroscience